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nikipedia's avatar

Have you ever had a non-traditional living arrangement as a grown up? Do you care to speculate about them?

Asked by nikipedia (27327 points ) December 5th, 2011

In my experience, the traditional expectation is that when you’re young you’ll have roommates, and when you get older you’ll either live by yourself or with your family when you start one.

I have had a lot of lame roommates in my life and looked forward to living alone. But right now, I live with my boyfriend, one of his best friends, and 2 other housemates, and it is a pretty great system. Everyone gets along, everyone contributes something different to the house, and it’s a fun, inviting place to be.

Similarly, my best friend was really excited about living alone for the first time in her life, and now that she’s done it for about 5 months, she’s lonely and wants a roommate to take her spare room.

So, have you ever voluntarily had roommates, or some kind of cooperative living arrangement by choice instead of by necessity? I guess I’m thinking of arrangements that don’t include family members—even though it’s not very common (in my culture) for grownups to live with parents, or extended family to stay with you, that doesn’t seem unusual to me. But if you have experience with that, feel free to comment.

Even if you haven’t had this experience—why do we do things this way? I can imagine a lot of scenarios in which sharing a living space could be helpful for sharing responsibilities (e.g., childcare).

Do we not do it because other people are too difficult to get along with? Because we all are very particular about our living space? Are those problems insurmountable?

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15 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I live alone for the first time after always having room mates, and it’s amazing, but I’ve only wanted room mates voluntarily on two occasions: when it was someone that became a real friend that I admired and trusted. There were two guys that I was great friends with because we were very alike, and it would have been fun to live with him because I knew what kind of peoeple they already were.

All of my other room mate situations had something significantly bad/awkward about them.

Coloma's avatar

I was married forever, now divorced, but, even as a young woman I liked living alone as I do now.

My mother moved out of state when I was 19 and I lived in her house alone for 3.5 years until I got married. It was a great house and I had a lot of pissed off friends that wanted to be my room mates and I told turned them down. lol

My room mates are my 2 cats, we’re a good blend. :-D

JLeslie's avatar

If I were single I think I wouldn’t like living alone much. The ideal for me would be to live in a condo with lits of friends living in the building also who stop in frequently like when I lived in the dorms, so I could have my own apartment, but have friends just a few doors away.

rojo's avatar

Does college count as being a grownup?

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo I’m going to say no. But let’s see what the OP says.

rojo's avatar

@JLeslie It felt grownup at the time but now….......?

nikipedia's avatar

@rojo, I think I mean late 20s and on, especially into mid-life. I think most people have roommates in college.

But if you have a good story, let’s hear it.

tedd's avatar

I moved out of my mothers home (parents are divorced) at age 19 upon leaving for college.

-My first year I lived with a pair of male room mates in a dorm. One of them I went to high school with.

-My second year away from home I moved into an apartment with 3 close friends. For a few months one was away at basic training, and a 4th friend eventually replaced him. All of them were guys and I had a dog from here on out.

-My third year I moved into a town home with a close female friend. She graduated college and moved away about 7/8 months in and I lived alone for the remainder of that lease. I spent a month or so between this lease and the next one living with a group of ~7 guy friends.

-My 4th and 5th years away from home I lived in a house with 3 other guys. Two of those guys were swapped out for two other guys going from year 4 to year 5. I was in a band with several of the guys as well.

-Year number 6 I started living alone, and got an apartment by myself with my dog.

-Year number 7 until now I live in another apartment, still alone, with a dog and cat.

-Debating moving in with my g/f in what would be roughly year 8.75… lol

-

erichw1504's avatar

In my early 20’s I basically lives at my mom’s and my girlfriend’s parent’s house for a couple years. It was nice of them to let me stay at their place often.

rojo's avatar

The last year of college five good friends rented a place in the country outside of town. We enjoyed the place and each other for about two months then people started bring in additional friends until we ended up with about a dozen people living together in a three bedroom. After a series of convolutions, people started pairing up and dividing into opposing factions. By the end of the semester the entire experiment had broken down and people went their seperate ways.
Of the original five, we broke into three groups of one, one and three, with associated friends. We were barely on speaking terms with each other which was about as different from the start as could be without actual murder, which was contemplated by each I am sure at some time during the semester. I ended up marrying one of the other members of the gang of three.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Not counting prior to finishing dorm life in college or cats, aside from time spent living with girlfriends and sometimes their friends, and now my wife, I’ve always chosen, and suspect I always will choose, to live alone. That is to say if I wasn’t living with someone with whom I am very close, I wouldn’t live with anyone. The reason I do that is simple, people, with rare exceptions, sap my strength and patience and I’ve found it’s better for everyone involved if I have my space. It’s not an insurmountable issue, but it’s one I don’t feel the need to confront simply for the sake of overcoming. Though our door is always open to a handful of close friends who suddenly find themselves needing a bed or just some long-term (in my opinion) company.

I’ve friends however that to this day have never lived without at least a roommate and often two or three. One who tried living alone barely lasted two months before he decided it was “too quiet” and invited a buddy who was struggling to make ends meet to come take his spare room, last I heard they’ve now got a third person living with them. To each their own. For a lot of people I know who do that “spending” money is also a big factor, they do the math and realize roommates can be pretty handy if they keep up with their share of the bills.

DrBill's avatar

there are a lot of poly households, it is a good arrangement with the right people

rojo's avatar

Reading the responses to this thread made me think.
Except for a couple of minor solo camping trips and longer business trips, I do not think I have ever lived on my own my entire life. Odd, wonder what it would be like not having someone to come home to each evening or plan my weekends for me.

wundayatta's avatar

I lived in group houses for the first five years after college. It was wonderful. You could afford much nicer places when you shared. You could have a built in family, community and party. These were all people I knew pretty well. I think it’s a wonderful thing. I thought everyone did it. But I guess not.

Did I mention that there were four of us living in this house and that the other 3 were women, and out of the 3 women, 3 of them were or had been lovers of mine?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes, I’ve had several. I first chose to live alone when I left home and really enjoyed it, I only ever had roomies after being divorced.

A bf and I shared our apt. with another couple, each couple had their own room but shared one bathroom and the other areas. It was intimate but fun for a short while.

I once shared an very nice apt. where I had the upstairs open loft with bathroom and two friends shared the downstairs room and bathroom.

A bf and I shared a great Upper Haight San Francisco victorian with two other roomies. There was one tiny bathroom with a shower stall where the water only trickled out so we’d have to fill a bucket in order to really wash and most hair was washed in the sinks.

A bf and I shared a condo with his twin brother and older brother. It was a constant party of visiting grown kids from their ex marriages and mutual friends. We actually lived all together through several moves and a few states, always very comfortably.

My now husband and I have lived with my mother going on 2yrs now. It’s really the strangest of all my previous roomie situations because my mother and I hadn’t spent but a few days at a time together ever since I moved out after graduating high school. We’ve really gotten to know each other.

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